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Students, staff required to mask up in Davenport schools starting Monday

Students will be required to mask up again starting Monday after a 5-2 vote. It's after a judge's ruling temporarily lifting a ban on mask mandates in Iowa schools.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Davenport school board took up the issue on whether to mandate masks throughout its district at a meeting on Sept. 16.

It comes after a judge's ruling which temporarily lifts a ban on mask mandates in all Iowa schools. The decision stands in the hands of school leaders as of now.

Students and staff will be required to mask up again starting Monday, Sept. 20 after a 5-2 vote.

The board meeting around one-hour and not many parents showed up, but there were still concerns from district officials. 

"It's going to be a nightmare," board member Kent Paustian said.

Students in Davenport public schools have been back in school for almost one month.

"The safety of the kids and the science have to be what we're considering," board member Karen Kline-Jerome said.

RELATED: Federal judge's temporary order allows Iowa schools to mandate masks

Iowa school districts are deciding how to move forward with masks until told further surrounding the judge's rule. 

"Allow parents to determine if students need to wear masks or not," board member Bruce Potts said.

"We have opened ourselves to litigation if we're not careful about this," board member Allison Beck said.

Davenport is one of 10 Iowa school districts named in a lawsuit that argues schools that don't require masks puts students with disabilities at a greater risk of catching COVID.

"At least in the mean time we are taking the responsible steps to help ward this district off from future litigations," board member Jamie Snyder said.

Staff and students wore masks most of the 2020-21 school year. 

"As a community, parents would not want to go to where we were with the virtual learning," Linda Hayes said.

Board members also say it's shouldn't be the job of teachers on enforcing masks.

"We're going to be spending a lot of time policing and not doing what we need to be doing," Paustian said.

"It was a very difficult spot our school board was put in, but I think they reviewed the science and listened to their community and voted on all of the information that they had in front of them," superintendent TJ Schneckloth said.

Parents were not able to comment during the meeting. Feedback was taken from a survey. More than 3,000 people responded between parents and staff which argued both sides.

The mask mandate is regardless of vaccination status. 

It does not apply to students while they're competing in sports events that are in or outdoors. 

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